Fireworks

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Styx - 'Live At The Orleans Arena Las Vegas' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/66/69/9f/Styx-Live-at-the-Orleans-Arena-Las-Vegas-22-1449953605.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 12, 2015    
 
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Is the world ready or does it need another Styx live album?

Let's get one thing straight, I am a Styx fan and have been since the 'Crystal Ball' album in 1976. I adore the period of the band from Tommy Shaw joining up until the 'Paradise Theater' release; even after that they've had their moments. However, one has to ask the questions, is the world ready or does it need another Styx live album? By my reckoning this is their ninth.

Had they been promoting new material or changed their set substantially I could understand this release, but apart from one song I suspect any self-respecting Melodic Rock fan could predict the set-list without exercising their brain cells too much. 'The Grand Illusion', Too Much Time On My Hands', 'Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)', 'Lady', 'Suite Madame Blue', 'Crystal Ball', 'Superstars', 'Come Sail Away' and 'Rockin' The Paradise' all make an appearance. I can't help wondering whether this released is some kind of knee-jerk reaction to Dennis De Young releasing his own live set '.......And The Music of Styx Live In Los Angeles' on Frontiers last year, a somewhat more expansive offering than this. Indeed, I looked up the gig from which this recording was taken and what you get here is all they played.

Consequently, the highlight is the inclusion of 'Light Up' from the 'Equinox' album which is both great to hear and a refreshing change from the predictable set-list. Don't get me wrong, there's no hint of going through the motions, the band sound as if they are giving it their all and every song is sure fire classic and at least we don't get to hear 'Babe'.

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Where this album doesn't work is when the band encourages the audience to participate, or in some instances not participate. Unfortunately, one of my favourite Styx songs, 'Renegade' is hampered by the band handing over the vocals to the crowd, which is sacrilege in itself, but they then fail to pick up the mantle.

The mid-song banter is generally pretty embarrassing, cheesy and so contrived, but that seems to be an American thing.
Lawrence Gowan does a good job covering the De Young songs and actually seems to have reined in some of the vocal theatrics that he's used on this material in the past, which I find mildly distracting.

Don Felder (ex-The Eagles) guests on 'Blue Collar Man', which I can't say adds anything and original bassist, Chuck Panozzo also puts in one of his rare appearances.

Gary Marshall

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